Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Cane River is a very interesting read which was one of the Oprah's Book Club selections. In this historical novel, the author, Lalita Tademy, deals with 137 years of her family's history of dealing with slavery and the aftermath. She begins with her 4th great-grandmother who was a slave in Virginia and then sold into French Cajun/Creole Louisiana. Elizabeth's daughter with fellow slave Gerasime, Suzette, is the first in a line of women who become impregnated by a white man. The next three generations are born into slavery because the owners refuse to free their colored children. The novel portrays the life situation of the colored children who can not overcome the Negro part of their heritage within the Southern society even after the Civil War is long over and the children are generally fair skinned.

Another interesting piece of the novel is the introduction of the freed Negroes who become slave owners, themselves. Tademy reveals the social hierarchy of wealthy plantation owners, poor white farmers, free Negroes, and slaves.

Beautifully written and very engaging story.

1 comment:

  1. Sue recommended this one to me some time ago, but I haven't got to it yet. It does sound engaging!